Judge Declines Hearing for Jared Lee Loughner’s Forced Medication

Oct 26, 2011 9:16am

A federal judge Tuesday declined to order a special hearing  to discuss a prison hospital’s decision to forcibly medicate accused killer Jared Lee Loughner.

Loughner was determined in the spring to be mentally incompetent to stand trial for the shootings in Arizona that killed six people, including  federal Judge John R. Roll, and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others. He has since received treatment at a prison hospital in Missouri.

Ruling that Loughner is being “legitimately medicated,”  United States District Judge Larry Alan Burns said Tuesday that the purpose of the medication was to stop Loughner from hurting himself and others.

Loughner’s lawyers have argued that he is being medicated not out of any fear of dangerousness but for the purposes of restoring him to competency at trial. As such, they believe the court must subject the government to stricter standards regarding the administration of the medication.

But Burns ruled that for now the hospital’s decision needs no further evaluation and that “the Court will give fresh and full consideration to the defense’s concerns before it makes any definitive finding that the defendant  has been restored to competency.”

On Sept. 28, the judge extended Loughner’s commitment to the hospital for four more months.

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